Torioi Kannon Temple
Nyoho-ji Temple in Nishiaizu-machi, Fukushima Prefecture, is a temple that was established by the scholar-monk Tokuitsu during the Heian period. Called Torioi Kannon, it is counted as one of the Aizu 33 Kannon. There is also a Kongo Rikishi sculpture of a Migawari no Nade Buddha; it is known as one of the three Aizu Korori Kannon, and it is said that if you stroke the statue and pray, you'll be able to "fall into death peacefully."
The layout of the Kannon-do temple itself is extremely rare. After praying, visitors will go straight through and out to the west instead of returning through the main gate. The reason for this is that paradise is thought to lie to the west, and by Kannon's guidance, people can be led to this world of paradise.
One particularly famous aspect of the Kannon-do temple is a wooden carving made by Hidari Jingoro, a renowned sculptor of the Edo period. This piece is known as Kakure Sanzaru, which translates to “three hiding monkeys.” It is believed to be a sign of good luck for anyone who can find all three monkeys within the carving. Inside the temple there are two dakitsuki pillars, and it is said that if someone embraces each of them and prays, they will be blessed. On the temple grounds is also a 1200-year-old umbrella pine that has been designated as a natural monument of Fukushima Prefecture.
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